Starting one of these sample packs can be a bit difficult simply because there’s no easy way to explore millions of archival items. It’s not like walking into a record store or even using YouTube where you can just dive in and start randomly browsing. You have to feed the platform some data. Browse features for most digital archives are limited and if you don’t speak the native language where the respective archive is located, your search terms become severely limited. R&D teams around the world are working pretty hard on improving this situation, but in the meantime the best way to search an archive is to just enter a general keyword that’s specific enough to narrow your results but broad enough that you’re not missing the outliers.
This sample pack is a perfect example of doing just that. We used 3 words to gather all this material, “Tahiti”, “Madagascar” and “accordion” and it wound up being a pretty cohesive and interesting mix of material.
We found various field recordings and performances from Madagascar made in the 1930s, 78s of Tahitian pop music, rare field recordings of traditional Swiss Alpine music, and even Chinese accordion marches.
You never know what you’ll find when you start entering random keywords but we’re pretty excited about this Sample Pack.
All this material is listed as being in the Public Domain according the National Library of France and Europeana so it’s all available for free re-use as well.
You can download the whole Sample Pack here.